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Lithium prices keep rising on the strength of the Chinese market

Credit: International Lithium Corp.

Battery-grade lithium carbonate prices edged up in East Asia in the past week amid the tight availability of spot units, tracking the previous rally in China, according to Fastmarkets.

Fastmarkets’ assessment of the lithium carbonate 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, spot price, (CIF) China, Japan & Korea was $27.50-29.00 per kg on Thursday, up by $1.50 per kg from $26.00-27.50 per kg a week earlier.

“Chinese prices still hold a large premium over regional prices, and it’s more profitable to sell units to the Chinese market. Plus, freight rates are also very high, so prices across the two markets should be at the same level,” a producer source in China told Fastmarkets.

Source: Fastmarkets

Demand for the materials used in electric cars and renewable-energy storage has soared and, while miners are seeking to boost supply, there’s not enough to meet consumption demand.

GlobalData expects the price of lithium carbonate to rise worldwide, from over $10,000 in 2020 to nearly $14,000 by 2024.

Related: Passenger EV sales to jump more than 80% in 2021 — report

“The financing for lithium projects is still too little, too late,” said Cameron Perks, a Melbourne-based analyst at BMI.

“The market deficit is already occurring.”

“Structural shortage is set to hit in 2022,” Benchmark Mineral Intelligence CEO Simon Moores tweeted recently.

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